AN AYRSHIRE car thief threatened to slit the throat of the vehicle owner’s son if they didn’t hand over the keys.

Nathan Donner demanded the keys after going to the door of a house in Ballantrae.

The terrified occupants handed over the keys and Donner drove away – only to be caught by police in Girvan, where he and his passenger had gone to buy drugs.

Ayr Sheriff Court heard that the 26-year-old was drunk at the wheel when he was caught – and that he’d also been banned from driving.

The shocking incident happened at a house in Ballantrae’s Main Street on April 25.

The court heard a female householder was at home with her son when Donner and another man appeared at the door at around 8pm.

Procurator fiscal depute Chris Munro said: “He began shouting to give him the car keys.

“When she refused, he said ‘get me the f***ing keys or I will murder someone’.

“She became worried for the safety of her son.

“The accused then reached into his pocket and she heard a sound that seemed like a knife flicking.”

Donner then told the woman: “Give me the keys or I’ll slit his throat.”

The woman handed over the keys and Donner drove off.

Police were alerted and managed to establish Donner’s location by speaking on the phone to his passenger.

Mr Munro continued: “Police traced the accused in Lindon Avenue, Girvan. They saw the accused in the driver’s seat.”

Donner was arrested after failing a roadside breath test; a subsequent sample gave a reading of 47 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

The limit in Scotland is just 22 microgrammes.

Donner pleaded guilty at Ayr Sheriff Court to a charge of assault and robbery.

Tony Currie, defending, said Donner had “a significant record” and had been placed on a renewed community payback order in April.

“Ultimately I would invite deferring sentence for reports,” Mr Currie continued.

“The other man was the long-time partner of the complainer. Both were driving to Girvan to buy drugs.

“He had said they would let them use the car, but it did not turn out so.

“While remanded in custody his daughter was born. He is adamant that when released he wants to have a relationship.

“I would invite consideration of a drug treatment and testing order [DTTO].”

Sheriff Mhairi MacTaggart took Mr Currie up on his suggestion, deferring sentence for reports and a DTTO assessment, and banned Donner from driving.

Donner, described in court papers as a prisoner at HMP Kilmarnock, was returned to custody and will be sentenced in the new year, when he will also find out the length of his latest driving ban.

Donner made his first appearance in court the day after the incident, when he was remanded in custody.